A student gave me a similar case of sticky notes as a gift, but I didn't realize they were available in this format all the time. I love having my sticky notes organized!
I heard Paul Tough, the author of How Children Succeed, speak and was impressed enough to buy his book. Lots of good stuff that made me rethink myself as a parent and teacher. Highly recommended.
I finally just gave this incredible piano lamp to myself as a present. The dark late afternoons and their lighting challenges made me do it. I love it. I used just this light at Jane Bastien's studio. There is nothing like having perfect, adjustable light to make a lesson feel more professional.
When I first started to write lyrics for teaching pieces, I found out how challenging it is.
Stephen Sondheim is an iconic composer as well as one of the finest lyricists who's ever lived. This book is the sequel to Finishing the Hat which I received for Christmas in 2010. I found the insight into his writing process fascinating. He lets the reader in behind the scenes as he slaves over just the right rhyme, the perfect sentiment, the ideal word. I found it both reassuring and inspiring. He includes copious details that show his process and his brilliance. I tell myself that the reason his lyrics are so much better than mine is because he gets to use dotted eighths and sixteenths and I'm always limited by the simple rhythmic material I'm working with. He gets to adjust the lyrics AND the material. Lucky and brilliant guy. Can't recommend his writing highly enough if you're interested in the workings of a genius. They're big books, good for reading in small doses or straight through.
I'm embarrassed to admit it, but the Guiness World Records Book is the favorite reading material of every one of my young students. It's the perfect waiting area book. A little bit trashy and forbidden, and easy to put down and pick up again.
I just bought this amazing Tape dispenser that comes complete with twenty rolls of brightly colored opaque tape. The dispenser is a delightful Lazy Susan that spins around. Kids LOVE using the different colors and kinds of paper tape. Originally designed for scrapbooking and art projects, it is already such fun to use with my students - in addition to stickers it will be a fabulous trick to have up my sleeve when I want to re-engage a wandering mind. My regular highlighting tape also fits on the Lazy Susan, so everything is in one place. Hooray!
Since I work in my studio using all kinds of paper, having unusual and handsome things makes a difference in my daily life.
You can never have too many Animal Erasers to use for keyboard games.
I keep scented candles like this in my studio for rainy days when the atmosphere needs a little energy. I have a bottle of EO hand sanitizer next to me at all times. It's my favorite because I like the fragrance and it doesn't dry out my hands as much as other brands.
I keep Mrs. Meyer's Liquid Hand Soap at the tiny sink where my students wash their hands. I can always smell whether they've used soap.
I like every one of the fragrances and though I have super-sensitive skin I'm not allergic to any of them.
When I interview a prospective young student, I often make a puzzle with them. I choose puzzles that don't have too many pieces, but are unusual and harder than they look. These four would be perfect. The puzzles need to be gender-neutral, colorful and wooden.
I use the puzzles to see how well the student can use their hands, and to watch their hand-eye coordination. If they need some help, I observe how well they take direction. Can I guide them and will they accept the suggestions? Occasionally a child will walk in and complete one of my puzzles with no help at all.
This gives me a great deal of information before we've even gotten to the piano. High-quality puzzles aren't cheap, but having one or two in my studio as diagnostic tools is completely worth it.
I use Ladybugs to teach hand position. Here are some of my favorite other Ladybug items I'd love to use in my teaching. OK, a few of these are just pretty things I'd like to have.
For those pesky too-long fingernails at lessons, I suggest these adorable clippers.
I could imagine giving these Ladybug Hair Clips to a little girl who'd worked SUPER hard on her Ladybug hand position and needed a big reward!
Do you think these tiny "Nail Art" stickers might sneak into my studio?
Finally, I include something I do not need or want. But maybe, somewhere out there is someone who would. In any case, I highly recommend reading the Customer Reviews of the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer. There are more than 4,000 reviews of this vital product.
"No more throwing bananas at the ceiling fan for me! This product has saved me the work of peeling the banana slices off the wall after the fan slices them. Thanks, banana slicer!"